Jesus of Hollywood
I saw Jesus today,
between a Kardashian billboard of writhing flesh
and a neon sign pointing the way
to Live Hot Nudes.
Waves of heat rose from the street
as the son of God walked up Sunset Boulevard
in his white robe and flowing hair,
looking like he had just stepped off a movie set.
His face, caked with dried blood
from the crown of thorns
jammed onto his head,
his weary eyes searching for something
on the horizon.
And I, parched from the heat,
drained from the day’s battles,
waved at him
while sipping a Big Gulp
from the 7-Eleven across the street.
held up two fingers
in what I thought was a blessing,
but he was just looking for a cigarette.
Ducking into an ATM,
I watched him yell at the computer screen,
kicking the machine with his sandaled foot.
Screaming, he threw the debit card into the air,
and ran toward an idling Subaru,
reaching for a handout
with his bloodied stigmata hands.
And I turned away, smiling,
knowing what I always knew;
that Jesus is just another tinsel town hustler,
and finding the way home
is all on me.
Bio: Wendy Rainey has two poetry collections to her name : Hollywood Church: Short Stories and Poems and Girl On The Highway. She is a contributing poetry editor on Chiron Review. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Nerve Cowboy, Trailer Park Quarterly, Misfit Magazine, Red Fez and beyond. She is a 2022 recipient of the Annie Menebroker Poetry Prize, and a runner-up in the 2022 Angelo Consolo Mankiewicz Poetry Prize. She studied poetry with Jack Grapes in Los Angeles and creative writing with Gerald Locklin at California State University, Long Beach.